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NOVEMBER 2005

> REVIEW, DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY & DENIM | jason jordan

Riding high off the success of Me Talk Pretty One Day (Back Bay Books, 2001), Sedaris strikes again with yet another rousing collection of material in Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Little, Brown and Company, 2004). Though this book marks my initiation into Sedaris's work, he's succeeded insomuch that the anecdotal stories work on a variety of levels, which holds the reader's attention in spite of the "deeper" meanings that resonate once each respective tale comes to a close.

By way of many brief pieces, we encounter Sedaris throughout distinguishable periods of his life such as childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. However, much of the content hinges on the fact that his family/friends often become the centerpieces. In Us and Them, the opener, the author hits hard with lines like "He's a human being, but also he's a pig, surrounded by trash and gorging himself so that others may be denied" (12), and to further illustrate his selfishness, "I tore off the wrappers and began cramming the candy bars into my mouth, desperately, like someone in a contest" (10). Interestingly enough, I'm writing this review on the exact day that the above-mentioned story refers to. And I also like to end sentences with prepositions sometimes.

Even if one opts to browse through Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim casually, the major topics are relatively conspicuous. Needless to say, in this compendium, Sedaris addresses the turbulent, awkward relationship he had with his parents, the oddness experienced as a result of being a brother to several siblings of varying genders, and coming to grips with his sexuality. While the term "essay" isn't exactly a misnomer here, it may unfortunately lead some astray. The stories in this effort, most of which first appeared elsewhere, are easy reads. But in contrast there are manifold things to glean from Sedaris's book, and he hardly ever spells out overt meanings. In short, the resonance is top-notch with a little bit of space left for resolution, too.

Therefore, if you enjoy reading nonfiction-based output, then I'm convinced that David Sedaris should be included in your canon. Lamentably, I can't vouch for his other endeavors, though if Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is any indication, they're worthwhile to boot. I wouldn't go out and spend $25 on this, as the hardcover dust jacket suggests, but it's something to look for when realism and suave writing is of the utmost priority.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Jason Jordan is many things. He is staff reviewer for this magazine. He was the host of the BEAN STREET READING SERIES. He is an editor of The IUS Review. He has been a featured writer at the Tuesday Night Reading Series in Evansville, Indiana. His writing appears in THE EDWARD SOCIETY and THE2NDHAND. He is currently on a seven-week book tour promoting his forthcoming novel, Powering The Devil's Circus. He is a writer.